Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

I am vexed,
there is this news article from the South Island of New Zealand...were the hikers from NZ? I hope not, I cannot imagine any of the hundreds of trampers I have met in the NZ bush ever behaving in this manner, it is disturbing.

then there is this, 15 years ago I wept with anger and horror at the genocide of the Kurds, years later I met a family from Kuwait who had lost everyone in their families, EVERYONE, nanas, grandpops, aunties, uncles, cousins, and the horror, the fear...and now they are both teachers, raising their 6 children (some born in refugee camps) to be Kiwi kids, I still have the pictures those kids drew for me the last time I saw them, the last day I worked as their parent's case manager, so full of hope for the future, maybe they have had more babies since, their motivation was so strong that their family would not be removed from the earth.

Saddam Hussein was a monster, and I think that, probably he deserved to die, that death was the only solution to the ongoing problem he presented, that if anyone deserves a punishment of death - it was he, we all know what he did, there is no question as to his guilt.
But...does his death by hanging diminish us? does it diminish the hangman? I am not talking from a Judeo-Christian standpoint, but from the standpoint of a Mum who realised that you don't teach a kid not to hit - by hitting, I do not feel that anything is gained by the death penalty, and that there is a facet of innocence lost.

I feel that I do not know my question, I most certainly do not know the answer, maybe I would feel differently about the death penanlty if someone harmed one of my children, maybe I would be rejoicing now if I were someone harmed by Hussein, I know that if the death penalty is warranted by anyone - he warranted it, but I still feel a deep sense of unease.

The house has been packed and moved, and will set sail in just over a week, the cleaners came in, did 3 hours work and left (2 of them) for $350. I was LIVID! no one was answering the phone at the removal company, but they got an earful, and will do so in person on tuesday. The floors were washed, the carpets vacuumed, the bathrooms and kitchen wiped over...thats it! no stove, no walls, no windows...I was so angry, I had explained that the most important thing was the walls...grrrrrrrr.

However, that was not enough to dampen our enthusiasm, we shopped big time for makeup, underwear and a couple of items of clothing for me (all will bcome clear in time) and shirts and power ties for Flash, had a great lunch down at The Rocks, and dinner with Maria at Red Chilli in Chinatown mmm Sizzling chicken! came home and collapsed replete on our airbeds ( we are doing it tough in order to be here for the New Years party on our roof - it is an institution!) Today Flash and I finished our shopping, and had the car groomed in readiness to hand it back. I scored at Dymocks with "Christmas Stockings" for $5, and "Yarns to dye for" for $10 (which seemed a bit strange because it is pretty recent...but who am I to argue?) Not that I am knitting much at present, it is difficult with only an airbed for furniture! I don't know what we would do without the laptop and 5 disc set of the first series of Boston legal.

Wishing you all a very happy New Year!

Monday, December 25, 2006

tidings of comfort and joy

Christmas is quiet this year, of our six we only have one child to celebrate the day with. Blaise is the sole recipient of our Christmas cheer, I have only one stocking to fill, it is strange.
Our house is chaos, where the dining room was is now a pile of belongings, I keep trying to tell Flash that the packers are used to just coming in and packing, they don't need you to get everything out for them, but he is not convinced. He has also built and un-built (I know it's not a word) every blasted flatpak, in fear that we will be charged duty on any new items, he has done something with his drill, and angle grinder and an alun key to make this faster, now I have to convince him to work the same magic on my ballwinder!
Merry Christmas everybody, if you have commented or emailed and I have not replied, I am sorry, I have not caught up with everyone's blogs for over a week, and I fear the next couple of weeks will be the same, there is so much to do and not much time to do it, but tomorrow we will relax and talk and laugh, there will be no cleaning, no housework apart from the dishes.
p.s. when Flash went back to IKEA to get the substitute doors for the workroom, magic happened! the doors I wanted in the first place were sitting there on the shelf, acting all nonchalant, the computer was wrong! (sorry, it was a data entry error)
Have a wonderful Christmas, from a temporarily substantially reduced me and mine, to you and yours.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

IKEA - it's Swedish for divorce!

My house looks like a flatpak factory exploded, every vertical surface has a wafer of brown cardboard leant against it, the fold-out couch (from IKEA) is loaded with boxes, all bearing that familiar logo (actually the outdoor setting is from another company - but lets keep it simple).
The reason that our place looks like a satellite storage facility, is a pretty obvious sold or gave away half of our belongings when we moved to Australia, we didn't know when we would be returning. Now we are going home and there are some things we need, furniture in NZ is expensive, the Auckland IKEA doesn't open until 2008 and we would prefer to spend more on important things (jewellery and champagne) and less on kids bedroom furniture.

But seriously, Flash has insisted that I purchase my home office setup, so that I have things almost exactly as they are in my dreams (except they are from IKEA), the office has white walls and pale blue carpet, so I am going with white and natural wood (I think they call it "birch"), loads of shelves and cupboards, a cutting table, and a desk which the two of us will share, and lovely curtain fabric in shades of beige, chocolate and pale blue. I keep daydreaming of finally having space to keep my sewing machine and overlocker on a bench available when I need them, of being able to find the embroidery threads without upending the button boxes, and of stacking my yarns in a visually appealing manner - ready to go at a moments notice, instead of being packed into plastic boxes and forgotten. Anyway - enough daydreaming, back to the point.

We arrived at IKEA early, to avoid the queues, and with a list which we had compiled using the website and catalogue, we eagerly marked the location of each item and even took time out for a coffee and a shared "Dime" slice at the cafe (mmm - Dime)so secure were we in our ability to complete our mission without incident. The warehouse floor was confusion, but we held hands and managed to find almost all of our list, but dammit! the glass doors for the "Billy" shelf units had sold out...won't be in until monday or tuesday, bollocks, and that metal DVD cabinet - it's on the slow boat from Scandinavia, it will be 4-6 weeks. We leave in 2 weeks people! Finally I resign myself to lining up at the checkout, with Flash promising to take a lunchtime trip on tuesday to get the doors.

Tuesday arrives, but the doors don't, seems they are on that slow boat dreams lie in tatters, those doors pulled the whole room together, without them I am bereft.
For a minute or 2, then I ask Flash if he could go back and pick up some other doors, the ones you decorate yourself with paper or fabric, they sound good, I can use some of the curtain fabric, yay we're back on track!
Flash emails his brother, since he works near IKEA they may as well meet for lunch, his brother replies and suggests that he could "pick the stuff up from IKEA" for Flash, so that they get a longer lunch together, to which Flash replies, and copies me in on the email:

Great Idea - thanks for offering to pick something up from Rhodes for me... but obviously you have never been to IKEA !

1. thread your way round the entire place which is the size of a football field, and designed so you can't cheat - you have to follow their track. (while your wife sings the IKEA song to herself, and you know you won't get that bloody song out of your head for a week)

2. go to the Warehouse area and pick the product yourself …it will be out of stock

3. join a queue to talk to a staff member

4. who will look at you blankly while you try to pronounce a Swedish word which sounds something like “skanky ho” and won’t know anything - just paid to show up and wear the yellow uniform.

5. Once you've shown them how to use their computer to look up the product you'll have to thread your way BACK to the display area to see what their proposed replacement for the out of stock item looks like.

6. Ironically - the area you have to go to will be just past "kiddie land" so you are now limping because some stupid bitch ran you over with her "Bugaboo space station"(tm).You will get to the display and see that the recommended replacement is fugly but you will see something else that looks better

7. limp all the way to the fecking warehouse to see if they've got it but you would have forgotten the "location coordinates"

8. So - you'll limp over to a staff member - show them how to use a computer and find its out of stock !

9. GO back to step 5.

10. repeat this process several times (avoiding the married couples who are also repeating the process and speaking to each other in low and measured tones)

now it is wednesday, apparently I will get my doors tomorrow, then I will have 4 more little flatpaks to find stacking space for, I'm thinking of building myself a little fort and cuddling up inside it with some pillows and blankets - to hide from the inventory lists, the interminable cleaning and organising - so that I can spend 10 minutes dreaming about the fun we are going to have in the new house with the kids, the cats, the garden...and the sounds of Flash swearing because he has lost the bloody alun key!

There has been knitting, it is looking quite good, I will reveal all in time

Thursday, December 14, 2006

more making

Loving this soft trees pattern from "Little Birds" quick, easily adapted and customised.

I didn't use the suggested rice or lentils to stabilise, and eliminate the rounded base, as I don't think the NZ Customs department would like them.

today I will try to find the plastic pellets used to fill beanie toys, but I don't mind the rounded bottoms.

this is the sum total of our Christmas decorations this year, we are going very minimalist - given that our belongings will be packed up on December 27.

Blogger beta does not seem to like a lot of people judging by the emails I have received...sorry...maybe try commenting as "anonymous" and add your name to your comment

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Oh I just had to

I know, I know - never blog twice in a day!

But I HAVE to!
we have a house, the contract has just gone unconditional, so I can tell you now...I am SO excited!

In a leafy, bushclad suburb, on a north facing (that's good in the southern hemisphere) hillside with views of more bush, a quiet road with neighbours who are not too close, but close enough, bush walks, native birds, shops and cafes are a few minutes walk away.

We were a bit concerned when we started looking at properties, to afford most of the houses we liked would have meant selling the cottage, and we couldn't face that, but then we found this house, and it is fantastic! 4 decks, a new spa pool and an inground pool for summer living. 4 bedrooms, an upstairs parents retreat containing a master bedroom with walk-in wardrobe, ensuite, and best of all a huge lounge which will be my work room - I have to share it with Flash, but I'm sure we will find a corner for him...! off the upstairs lounge is a small balcony with room for a couple of chairs - perfect for relaxing with a glass of wine in the evening.

This house has everything we need and want, ok, so the kitchen is smaller than we would prefer, but on the other hand there is a seperate laundry ( sometimes the domestic goddess persona overcomes me - I have been daydreaming about shelves of neatly folded towels and laundry supplies - but it doesn't last long!), the bathrooms are a bit dated - but there are 3 bath-type rooms downstairs, so we can have one daughter washing her face or having a bath, while another is in the loo, and a third having a shower. There are a few things to fix, but they are minor, and easily sorted.

There are 2 woodburners, one in each lounge, so Flash is planning trips with the chainsaw and trailer, squirrelling wood away for winter, I am making plans of the plants we will need for the front garden in order to avoid mowing the lawn, and visiting Ikea (not yet in NZ) for cheap new curtain fabrics for the kids rooms...and I just can't stop jumping up and down with joy!

Now we can relax and have a nice Christmas, befor it all goes crazy again - the movers will be in at the end of December to pack and move us home.

not exactly a pattern

Machine knitting looms large in my life, I am quite passionate about what these machines can accomplish - even the most basic ones. I saw a quote in a book once saying that tools are necessary for the creation of helpful or beautiful objects, underneath this quote was a quote from the author of the book "a knitting machine is a tool".

I hand knit for various reasons: to keep my hands and mind busy when I am waiting, to relax, to make a connection with other knitters and with those I am knitting for.
I machine knit to get my ideas out of my head quickly - as evidenced by the Noro scarf, I would never have hand-knitted that scarf, I hated hand knitting the yarn, but from start to finish that scarf took me a little over an hour, using a technique I learnt while hand knitting. I love this transfer of ideas, and the fusion of different techniques, as shown in the cable scarf I knitted for Flash's Dad.

I used some lovely chocolate merino/cashmere/nylon yarn from the Knittery, a thickish fingering weight. I cast on 40 sts,using waste yarn (leaving 5 metres tail) and arranged the needles over both beds as follows:
working from each end to middle(I will describe 1 side, work the other as mirror)
needle 20 on MB (main bed) needle 19 & 18 on ribber, next 12 needles on MB, 2 on ribber, 3 on MB
-the middle 6 sts are for a 3x3 cable which is worked every 10 rows.
There are many different variations on this theme, the important thing is to ensure you have a couple of ribber sts close to the selvedge to prevent rolling, and a couple either side of any cable to make it show up well. You can't go wrong with experimenting as long as you follow these guidelines.
When I had a few metres of yarn left I took the scarf off on waste yarn, and then slipped the sts onto a 3mm straight and knitted 8 rows of garter st for the hem, I repeated this at the other end of the scarf (hence the waste yarn cast on and long tail) this also helps to prevent rolling, and makes me feel that I have put some hand knitted goodness into the gift.
On the domestic front: things are moving quickly, we are both constantly juggling - movers coming to give quotes, negotiating with real estate agents who if they had their way would be bringing people through in the middle of the night
(best one this week - "can we bring people through before 10 am, so that the apartment isn't too hot?" - the back ground to why this is funny is that our apartment has 18 ft high windows, so by 9 am it is pretty warm in here, add to that the fact that we have been requesting the agent who uttered the above sentence to fix the air conditioner on a bi-weekly basis for the past 6 weeks, you can understand why we have suggested that maybe an open home at 12 noon would give prospective tenants a more realistic view of the apartment.)
I hate moving at Christmas, I have done it a couple of times because it makes sense with the school year (Feb - Dec in NZ and Oz) but thats the only sensible thing about it, it is hot, lawyers and bank staff are on holiday, hotels and airlines are booked out, and we are packing and stressing when we are supposed to be on holiday relaxing! Still, it will all be worth it when we are settled into our new house with everything unpacked and in place, there should be enough summer left for us to get some relaxation in.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The dread pirate twins

you can't see the brass earrings to well in this picture, but they are there, these guys have furry felt faces and make me smile everytime I look at them.
(pattern: minimoopy from Carly as per previous post)

Friday, December 08, 2006

today the blog is brought to you by the letter "M"

Maisie can't read yet, so even if her Mum, my sister, does read the blog - Maisie won't know that I have made her a Moopy for Christmas (thank you so much for sharing the pattern Carly!) I am thinking of making a pirate Moopy for her big brother.

The scarf in the background is for Flash's Dad, who doesn't read the blog either - so I am safe!

"M" is also for mammogram ...which was clear yipee! so sorry to the comments I have not replied to...theres a lot going on behind the scenes at Just Jussi.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


"the only constant is change"

I have tried to raise my girls according to the principle - that change is to be embraced, not feared, because change is a surety.

so why am I trying not to notice that the changes that are occuring in my life concur with a steady march towards middle age? I am 38, many of my schoolfriends are having their first babies now, my eldest daughter is about to hit 20, I can no longer call her a child.

and my baby, although still tiny, scrubs up into a gorgeous young woman.

not goth,not emo, a unique child with a theatrical disposition

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

hidden depths

Over a year ago I purchased 3 balls of Noro Aurora (colourway 6) on a whim, I liked the sound of it, I loved Silk garden so expected to love the aurora...I didn't, it was scratchy, like carpet yarn, it had nasty shiny lurex wraps, it wasn't what I expected. I tried to knit a scarf in a snowshoe drop stitch pattern and gave up after 20 rows, it didn't feel right, and I wasn't doing the colours any justice.

The aurora languished in the stash, overlooked and unloved, I pushed it to the bottom of the chest, feeling guilty for my inadequacy, my inability to get the best from this yarn.

On monday night, in the midst of house drama ( I'll get to that in a few days) I had a sudden flash of inspiration - my brain is constantly on the lookout for a diversion - I'll do a short row scarf on the knitting machine, it will enhance the colours and relieve me from having to hand knit scratchy yarn. I cast on 40 sts and used max tension, and all 3 balls.

The aurora complied...mostly... it did try to drop sts whenever 1/2 or more of the sts were on hold, but judicious use of weights fixed that, the sts were very easy to pick up, they just sat and waited for me, and the results were stunning...Flash came home yesterday while it was blocking, and almost gushed at it's beauty, the short rows enhanced the colour changes with an effect reminiscent of oil pastels on a black canvas, even the lurex is not out of place, providing accent flashes every few inches.

The scratchiness disappeared on washing - I expected this, I am always having this conversation with people, they think silkgarden is scratchy, I say "Wash it!!!" the metamorphosis is amazing, the scarf is soft and just slightly fuzzy. I used lukewarm water and woolwash, as I didn't want any felting to occur, but I think this patterning would look great felted in grey tones, as an afghan or cushion covers.

Blaise thinks it looks like an impressionist landscape - I don't know but I love the curves.

I wonder if I know anyone who would like it? maybe a certain young woman who is having a birthday soon?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

One out of the box

"A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked." -- Bernard Meltzer

(clockwise from front in pink - me, Lara, Donni, Sandra, Mary-Helen,Ailsa (go and see her letter to knitpicks), Em - Donna-David)
despite Sydney's thunderstorms, these intrepid souls braved the weather and congregated not on the deck as we had expected, but in the function room on the roof, which was cosy nonetheless. I tried hard not to cry despite the beautiful gifts and the cards with all the words that I didn't want to read, there will be enough crying.
thank you
Donni gave me a box for my memories, here is great picture of my mate, I can't believe I didn't take photos of everyone, I just got caught up.
To know someone here or there with whom you can feel there is understanding in spite of distances or thoughts expressed ~ That can make life a garden.
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe